It’s schools out for hundreds of second level pupils throughout County Clare and South Galway today (Tuesday), as members of the ASTI and TUI stage a one-day strike in protest over elements of the proposed new Junior Cycle.
On a bitterly cold but dry day, 27,000 second level teachers around the country are taking all-out strike action.
Teachers represented by ASTI and TUI are concerned that aspects of the proposals pose a threat to education standards, fairness and quality. Teachers also have concerns about current system capacity to accommodate such major change.
“Teachers care deeply about the education system that they work in and the students they teach,” said ASTI president, Philip Irwin.
“They are reluctantly taking strike action today in protest at what they see as a significant threat to education standards and education quality in Ireland. However, we are open to further engagement with the minister on this issue in an effort to seek a solution. We still believe it is possible to improve Junior Cycle education while maintaining the integrity of the education system.”
“Teachers fully recognise the importance of not relying exclusively on a terminal examination,” said TUI president, Gerry Quinn.
“Project, portfolio and practical work already form a significant part of many subjects, but, crucially, all elements are assessed externally. We are prepared to consider the extension of this practice provided it is done in a way which does not create more pressure on students. We have made clear our position that education standards must be maintained. We are prepared to work in partnership with the Minister to find mutually acceptable ways to implement sound educational change.”
Talks between the teacher unions and the Minister for Education and Skills two weeks ago failed to resolve the impasse over the Framework for Junior Cycle.